When liberal students have a complaint about a college, the dean will resign, the professors will go on academic leave, and the administration will build a new center on campus so that the school’s two Inuit students can have a safe space from which to be free of “Eskimo bias.” But if conservatives have a problem with a college’s unfriendly attitude towards their political beliefs…well those conservatives can go take a hike. And if they want to cause any trouble, they may very well wind up expelled for making waves.
So it is that a school like Siena College in New York ends up proving the very point that aggrieved students are trying to make. Because instead of listening closely to the concerns of political science major Zachary Butler, who says the college takes a hostile attitude towards conservatives like himself, the college is threatening to end his academic career altogether.
From Campus Reform:
Zachary Butler, a junior studying political science, told Campus Reform that he is under investigation after posting 600 flyers on campus depicting an email exchange in which a Siena College professor called conservative students “miserable” to work with.
As Campus Reform reported, Siena College professor Jenn McErlean sent an email on March 20 announcing that she had quit the school’s committee on civil discourse because the thought of working with conservative students was “making me miserable.”
Though Butler was not involved in the initial email chain, he told Campus Reform that the school’s lack of response to this incident—and the broader climate of hostility against conservative students—deeply concerned him.
“So in order to keep the dialogue going, I took it upon myself—with the help of a friend—to post 600 copies of that email all over campus,” Butler said, adding that all 600 flyers were posted overnight on March 22.
That was enough to finally trigger action on the part of the administration. But rather than respond to Butler’s concerns in a mature way that took him seriously and preserved his right to free speech, they served him with a “Notice of Charges” that claimed that he had “adversely affected the health, welfare, and/or safety” of his fellow students and Siena College staff.
How, exactly, did he do this?
The school told Butler that, among the possible punishments he was facing as a result of conviction on these charges, he could be expelled or suspended from the college, severely derailing his academic future.
We hope that cooler heads will prevail at Siena College, but whether Butler is punished or not, this reaction in and of itself proves his point.